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Netherland Government, and duly certified copies of which shall be sent, through the diplomatic channel, to the Powers designated in Article 15 and in the Table annexed.

NOTE. — Owing to various causes the Court provided for in this Convention has not yet been brought into existence. Legislation was required in Great Britain in order to give it jurisdiction over British cases; and the House of Lords threw out the Bill of the Government. The controversy which arose over the Declaration of London (see page 333) retarded the agreement as to blockade and contraband of war which the maritime states desired to see before they gave power to a Court to decide according to "the general principles of justice and equity” such cases as were not covered by recognised rules of International Law (see Article 7). And lastly the susceptibilities of several of the smaller states caused them, when signing the Convention, to enter reservations against Article 15. It was this Article which provided that the Judges appointed by eight Great Powers should always have a place among the fifteen Judges which compose the Court while the appointees of the other powers were to fill up the remaining seven seats by rota, according to a table annexed to the Convention. The establishment of a strong International Tribunal, with jurisdiction in certain cases over the ships and sailors of all civilised states, would be a great step forward in the development of judicial organs for the Society of Nations, and its decisions would constitute an invaluable body of authoritative case-law.


12. Hague Convention of 1907 with Regard to the Conversion

of Merchantmen into Warships

Article 1 A merchant-ship converted into a warship cannot have the rights and duties appertaining to vessels having that status unless it is placed under the direct authority, immediate control, and responsibility of the Power, the flag of which it flies.

Article II Merchant-ships converted into war-ships must bear the external marks which distinguish the war-ships of their nationality.

Article III The commander must be in the service of the State and duly commissioned by the proper authorities. His name must figure on the list of the officers of the fighting fleet.

Article IV
The crew must be subject to military discipline.

Article V Every merchant-ship converted into a war-ship is bound to observe in its operations the laws and customs of war.

Article VI A belligerent who converts a merchant-ship into a war-ship must, as soon as possible, announce such conversion in the list of its war-ships.

Article VII The provisions of the present Convention do not apply except between Contracting Powers, and then only if all the belligerents are parties to the Convention.

NOTE. — Articles 8-12 contain the provisions in respect of ratification, notification and registration, which are to be found in Articles 4-8 of the Convention of 1907 relative to the Opening of Hostilities (see No. 2 of Part III, page 178). It will be noticed that the question of the places where the conversion may be effected is left untouched. The Contracting Powers could not agree about it, and stated in the preamble that it remained outside the scope of the Convention, and was in no way affected by the rules laid down. The point at issue is whether conversion can be permitted to take place on the high seas. The Naval Conference of 1908– 1909 endeavoured in vain to settle it. Consequently the Declaration of London, which was drawn up at the Conference, is silent on the subject.

13. The Hague Convention of 1907 with Regard to the Use

of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines

Article 1 It is forbidden:

1. To lay unanchored automatic contact mines, unless they be so constructed as to become harmless one hour at most after the person who laid them has ceased to control them;

2. To lay anchored automatic contact mines which do not become harmless as soon as they have broken loose from their moorings;

3. To use torpedoes which do not become harmless when they have missed their mark.

Article 2

The laying of automatic contact mines off the coast and ports of the enemy with the sole object of intercepting commercial shipping, is forbidden.

Article 3 When anchored automatic contact mines are employed, every possible precaution must be taken for the security of peaceful shipping.

The belligerents undertake to do their utmost to render these mines harmless after a limited time has elapsed, and, should the mines cease to be under observation, to notify the danger zones as soon as military exigencies permit, by a notice to mariners, which must also be communicated to the Governments through the diplomatic channel.

Article 4

Neutral Powers which lay automatic contact mines off their coasts must observe the same rules and take the same precautions as are imposed on belligerents.

The neutral Power must give notice to mariners in advance of the places where automatic contact mines have been laid. This notice must be communicated at once to the Governments through the diplomatic channel.

Article 5

At the close of the war, the Contracting Powers undertake to do their utmost to remove the mines which they have laid, each Power removing its own mines.

As regards anchored automatic contact mines laid by one of the belligerents off the coast of the other, their position must be notified to the other party by the Power which laid them, and each Power must proceed with the least possible delay to remove the mines in its own waters.

Article 6 The Contracting Powers which do not at present own perfected mines of the description contemplated in the present Convention, and which, consequently, could not at present carry out the rules laid down in Articles 1 and 3, undertake to convert the matériel of their mines as soon as possible, so as to bring it into conformity with the foregoing requirements.

Article The provisions of the present Convention do not apply except between Contracting Powers, and then only if all the belligerents are parties to the Convention.

NOTE. The usual provisions as to ratification, notification and accession follow. They are printed in No. 2 of Part III. But in this case further rules are laid down. Article 11 provides that “the present Convention shall remain in force for seven years"; and Article 12 declares that the Contracting Powers will reopen the matter six months before the expiration of this period "in the event of the question not having been already taken up and settled by the Third Peace Conference.” The Convention is very imperfect, and there is little doubt that many of those concerned in drawing it up were ashamed of their own work. They agreed to compromise after compromise, till little of any value was left.

14. The Hague Convention of 1907 with Regard to Bombard

ments by Naval Forces in Time of War Chapter 1 -- Bombardment of Undefended Ports, Towns,

Villages, Dwellings, or Buildings

Article 1 The bombardment by naval forces of undefended ports, towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings is forbidden.

A place may not be bombarded solely on the ground that automatic submarine contact mines are anchored off the harbour.

Article 2 Military works, military or naval establishments, depôts of arms or war material, workshops or plant which could be utilized for the needs of the hostile fleet or army, and ships of war in the harbour, are not, however, included in this prohibition. The commander of a naval force may destroy them with artillery, after a summons followed by a reasonable interval of time, if all other means are impossible, and when the local authorities have not themselves destroyed them within the time fixed.

The commander incurs no responsibility for any unavoidable damage which may be caused by a bombardment under such circumstances.

If for military reasons immediate action is necessary, and no delay can be allowed to the enemy, it is nevertheless understood that the prohibition to bombard the undefended town holds good, as in the case given in the first paragraph, and the commander shall take all due measures in order that the town may suffer as little harm as possible.

Article 3 After due notice has been given, the bombardment of undefended ports, towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings may be commenced, if the local authorities, on a formal summons being made to them, decline to comply with requisitions for provisions or supplies necessary for the immediate use of the naval force before the place in question.

Such requisitions shall be proportional to the resources of the place. They shall only be demanded in the name of the commander of the said naval force, and they shall, as far as possible, be paid for in ready money; if not, receipts shall be given.

Article 4 The bombardment of undefended ports, towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings, on account of failure to pay money contributions, is forbidden.

Chapter II - General Provisions

Article 5 In bombardments by naval forces all necessary steps must be taken by the commander to spare as far as possible buildings

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